According to new research1 from GRiD, the industry body for the group risk sector, affordability – competing with budget for other business needs – was cited as the biggest challenge in supporting the health and wellbeing of staff, by 30% of employers. However, 98% of those that measure the impact to the business in supporting staff say it is positive.

GRiD believes that ‘affordability’ does not simply mean the actual price of providing health and wellbeing support, or the cost of delivering it, but is about whether decision-makers in the business perceive the value and effectiveness of it, which is why it is so important to measure the impact.

Katharine Moxham, spokesperson for GRiD, said: “Unlike an investment in other business assets, evaluating the business benefits of health and wellbeing support can be more nuanced. That’s why it’s so important that HR teams have measurements in place that demonstrate the worth of their selected employee benefits to ensure they can retain and grow their budget for this type of support in the future.”

According to the research, 45% of employers do not measure the impact of supporting the health and wellbeing of their staff. However, of the 51% who do measure the impact:

  • 42% say that supporting health and wellbeing holistically helps them manage absence, mitigating the number and length of absences meaning quicker returns to work.
  • 39% say it is integral to their company ethos to support employees – including their health and wellbeing – which helps them fulfil their business objectives.
  • 36% say they are more likely to succeed financially as a business when their employees are fit, healthy and engaged in their work.
  • 35% say that when their employees know that they are supported with their overall health and wellbeing, it increases their productivity.
  • 30% say potential clients are interested in how well they look after staff. Having a good policy in place helps them win clients.

In fact, of those employers who do measure the impact of their employee health and wellbeing support, 98% agree that it has a significantly positive impact on their company. It is vital that the clear, tangible business benefits are communicated throughout the business, so that those in control of overall budgets understand the priority they need to be given.

Katharine Moxham continued: “The perceived value of health and wellbeing support should not be taken for granted. It is down to HR teams and the wider business to not only provide health and wellbeing benefits for their staff, such as group risk – employer-sponsored life assurance, income protection and critical illness – but to also measure and then demonstrate the inherent value within them. This doesn’t necessarily need to be undertaken by the business in isolation: advisers and providers can also help determine how to measure success in order to build the business case.”

 

Responding to the research, John Hyde, Chief Marketing Officer at Unum UK commented:

“As well as highlighting the financial pressures that employers are feeling this year when trying to look after the health and wellbeing of employees versus other business needs, new research from GRiD shows a worrying number of employers are not measuring the impact of their health and wellbeing provisions on their employees. With just over a third of employers recognising the interdependence of healthy, engaged employees with business efficiencies, there appears to be a worrying number underestimating the value that a comprehensive health and wellbeing package can deliver.

The absence of data outputs, or the lack of analysis of the data, is both disappointing and worrying as employers risk missing the knowledge and oversight of the happiness, healthiness and productivity of their workforce. An estimated 149 million working days are lost to sickness absence every year. Keeping adequate records of key measurable data can help show the impact on absence and return to work rates, prove the return on investment and help align employee benefits to wellbeing strategies, services and resources that employees actually need both now and in the future. So, if you’re not measuring it, you’re not managing it.

 We know that employers who proactively promote, measure and help manage, their employees’ physical health and wellbeing can reap the benefits of healthier, happier workforces — employees who are better able to focus on the job in hand and be their most productive for the business.”

 

References

The research was undertaken by Opinium from 9-22 January 2023 among 503 HR decision-makers at UK businesses.